Given the number of hotels we stay in on our travels, a brief office survey suggests we’ve left behind at least half an ill-fitting wardrobe after checkout – a story familiar to many, and why London-based David Chipperfield Architects has designed an alternative storage unit, The Butler.
“Most hotels have badly designed wardrobes and cupboards,” says David Chipperfield. “They are not well organised and unpacking your suitcase is not enjoyable. The idea of Butler was to design a ‘dressing table’ that makes unpacking in a hotel room into a joy.”
The combined wardrobe and suitcase stand fits the modern traveller who rarely unpacks their bag fully, creating a bespoke piece of furniture that allows travellers to hang and store their belongings easily and openly enough to ensure they won’t leave anything behind.
Built by furniture-makers e15, who manufacture much of the practice’s furniture, the team crafted The Butler from solid American willow.
“This was the first time we worked with American willow, a wood that is much softer than e15’s primary material European oak, but we are very satisfied with the result,” says e15 senior product designer Jan Philip Holler.
“With a focus on premium craftsmanship, the furniture features a number of constructive details, such as a gap at the back of the piece which allows the wood to expand and shrink over time.
“American willow as the main material was combined with brushed brass, vegetal leather and Bianco Carrara marble to create a rich mix of materials. This interplay of pure materials creates an intriguing contrast with the reduced, architectural design of Butler.”